Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'The Silver Six' among the Sterling New Long-Form Comics for Children

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'The Silver Six' among the Sterling New Long-Form Comics for Children

Article excerpt

Are the kids looking for some fun summer reading? Have them try out one of these new long-form comics:

* The time is many years in the future, and 12-year-old Phoebe's parents have died in a mysterious accident. For the past year, she's lived on her own with her trusty eccentric robot Max, trying to make it look like her parents are still alive so she isn't sent to an orphanage. One day, however, her secret is uncovered, and Phoebe is forced to move to a "Child Welfare Services" dormitory.

There, she joins forces with five other orphans whose parents also have died under suspicious circumstances. Like Phoebe, the other five also were given copies of a perplexing "moon registry" by their parents before they died, something that seems to tie them together.

The group names itself the "Silver Six," and, together, they find a way to break out of the dormitory by stealing a spaceship, which deposits them on what appears to be an undiscovered moon. There, the group figures out a way to decode the moon registries, learning that their parents were close to uncovering a major new energy source. Before the adults could complete their research, however, their spaceship was blown up by the power-hungry head of the mining company that virtually rules Earth because it has a monopoly on the energy supply.

In "The Silver Six" (Graphix/Scholastic, $22.99, ages 8-12), author A.J. Lieberman and illustrator Darren Rawlings show how the kids, led by the inexhaustible Phoebe, fight back against the company that killed their parents. In the process, the Silver Six also discover a new energy source for Earth, thus freeing the world from the grip of the mining company.

If all of this sounds a bit grim, it's actually far from it. Mr. Lieberman's science-fiction story is filled with drama and humor and enough crazy plot twists to keep readers rapidly turning the pages. Young readers will readily bond with the characters, particularly Phoebe and Max, as the Silver Six members learn to get along with each other while battling the real villains.

Mr. Rawlings' illustrations add further energy to the story and help flesh out the characters. Readers will especially enjoy the way the artwork makes the futuristic world of the Silver Six seem quite real.

* The tagline on the cover of "Ball" (Houghton Mifflin, $12.99, ages 3 up) says it all: "Word and pictures by Mary Sullivan." Yep, there's only one word in "Ball," although it's repeated on each page of this cheerful tale of a ball-obsessed dog.

Fortunately, the dog's young mistress loves playing ball as much as her canine companion. But the young girl can't play all day; she's got to go to school, leaving the dog searching desperately for other playmates. The dog even tries to interest an infant, who bursts out bawling. Finally, it's time for school to let out, and dog and mistress can once again go into ball-playing mode. …

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